Now for the most recent American Civil War plastics set released in 2016 by the ever prolific Perry brothers - the new Union Infantry.
With this one they did something new though - there are two versions of the box. It's all Union soldiers in sack coats, but there's the skirmishing box and the line infantry box. Same sprues, but in different ratios.
|The other version|
So you can read this article as a review of either box, as there's the same figures in there.
As usual, good stuff, Peter Dennis artwork. Not all that much to say really. You can see though that with 38 miniatures this has fewer figures than the Confederates box, but that is to be expected with skirmishing troops which require more varied and more dynamic poses.
Last night I had the plastic ACW cavalry box in hand again and realized that the artwork on these new Perry boxes is even prettier than on the older ones. I always took them for being all nice, but the new ones are indeed nicer. The Perrys keep on tweaking on all fronts while keeping the familiar design.
Speaking of tweaks, on the back of the box you can see another new thing (at least I hadn't come across this on these so far) - no more drawings of what the models are depicting, but photos of the models inside, displaying the poses included. The painting on these figures is very interesting, especially how the trousers are done.
Not sure I prefer the photos, but in the end it doesn't really matter.
As usual the box has simple build instructions and a little blurb of informative text.
What's in the Box?
In this box you will find four different sprues. Troops, Skirmishers, Command and bases.
Would you look at that. Round bases! Lots thereof too - a total of 64, so close to twice as many as you actually need. Sweet. These are 20mm round bases.
Now for the actual figures, starting with the command sprue. This one's included in the box once, but comes with four models.
It comes with all the familiar choices: Officers pointing, with revolver and holding a sword. On top of this there's this pretty cool "holding up scabbard" pose used for signalling their men, as well as arms for NCOs with sergeant stripes on the sleeves. There's the obligatory drums and drummer arms and also a bugler arm. Not quite tooting the horn, but at least holding it. Pretty cool. There are two pairs of arms with a flagpole.
This being Union fellas they'll often need more colour bearers than the Confederates as Union troops often carried US flags as well as state flags.
Also on the sprue you get the usual choice of broad-brimmed hats and kepis. I really like how they made the officer figures look different to the Confederate officers, including making swords completely optional.
Now for the line troops sprue:
Five men per sprue, two sprues are included in this box. These are very similar to the Confederate Infantry sprues in that there are two arm pairs for each body so you can model them to either advance with muskets shouldered or muskets in hands, charging.
Again, you're free to choose to have the guys wear either broad brimmed hats or caps. An interesting bit they added is a no-hat-all-hair option. It's basically a hair piece you glue on the top of the head.
The uniforms again are nicely different to their Confederate counter-parts. They wear the longer 'sack coats', got metal embelishments on the ammo pouches, knapsacks, buckles on the straps across the chest, the more bulbous metal canteens and all of that.
The bulk of the models in this box are made up from the skirmish sprue:
Three models to each sprue, eight sprues in the box. One body is looking surprisingly relaxed, standing upright (I actually used one of those for a camp scene with soldiers sitting around and such), one advancing/slightly hunched over and one crouching.
The arm poses go with either stance, so no worries there. And they are pretty varied. A look at the back of the box definately helps with figuring out what's what.
You can model the guys reaching for musket balls, applying the ramrod, biting the powder charge, advancing with musket in hand and firing. The arm pairs on the troops will also work well with these bodies here, so you can play around a bit with additional poses.
Last but not least there's the usual Perrys quality leaflet with infos, painting schemes, flags and whatnot:
Again, photos of miniatures instead of colourized drawings. While I like the infos from these leaflets a lot, I never use the flags. The paper is too thick and shiny for my liking.
This side here is rather interesting as it gives you some suggestions for making your Union troops look a bit more interesting.
I wrote about this above when discussing the sprues a bit. It's really cool how you can mix and play around with the arm options on all the Perrys figures. Somehow they manage to combine believable poses with great interchangeability.
It's also worth trying how some of these arms fit on the plastic cavalry too.
In general the assembly is a breeze. Mold lines are present of course and have to be removed, but you'll have that on any plastic mini. On one of the figures I used the hair option on top of the head. Maybe I didn't try hard enough, but it never quite fit (looked perfectly alright once painted though).
I assembled 12 skirmishing troops, 1 officer (mostly from Confederate infantry parts), another leader from the Union skirmishers box with a bugle in hand plus a four men command group which I will add to one of my existing units. Those figures will go on a 40x40mm multi-base, the rest of the models I mounted on 25mm bases. I went for those as opposed to the 20mm ones included in the box because all my other ACW skirmishers are based in this fashion.
One thing I noticed about the crouching bodies - maybe I got something wrong, but on that pose the strap across the chest by which the canteen hangs never matches up with the canteen on the lower body part. There always was a gap of ca. 1,5mm. Not a big problem and easily fixed with some green stuff.
In the very end I snipped off the bayonets from the skirmishing troops, as they make more sense with the bayonets off.
Now comes the big shocker: I painted them as Confederates! (to fit my army) There are loads of occasions Confederate soldiers wore longer 'sack coats' between looted federal stashes, everybody bringing their own jackets from home, jackets produced in the South and so on.
So I painted the guys mostly as if everybody pretty much brought/bought their own outfits. Some pieces may be uniform, looted uniform or uniform turned brown-ish. I scraped the metal fittings off most of the ammunition pouches. On a few I left them on. Those were looted from federal storehouses.
So what do I think of the models? They are proper fine quality, they bring a ton of interchangeable new bits into the pool of arms to fit your Perry plastic ACW figures, but most of all they give us a whole new range of ACW figures in skirmish poses.
Okay, the poses are not super dynamic and there are only three really. If you ONLY use those I think sooner or later you'll run into problems. But mix them with the existing metal skirmishing models, maybe throw in some more metal skirmishers from other ranges (I like Sash&Saber) - bingo. This will work.
This especially will help with getting yourself a skirmish gaming force set up quickly. Or base them as line infantry and you got a pretty 'ragged' (or realistic) firing line.
These figures will mix great with the minis from the Confederate Infantry box as well. Compared to the older ACW infantry box the models will still look a bit tall and much more animated). You can throw a few of the old set into the new (or vice versa), but a 50/50 mix will look odd.
All being said - a great addition to the mix. This box is very useful indeed. More so than the Union Line box I would say, but it depends on what you need. 38 figures for GBP 18.00 to 20.00.